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Natural Cosmetics

Natural Cosmetics
Growing consumer concern about synthetic and potentially harmful chemicals has seen the natural and organic sector emerge as the fastest-growing cosmetics sector.

An increasing number of companies are creating environmentally-friendly cosmetics to address consumer-demand for natural products that are created in a sustainable and ethical manner.

Accompanying this heightened awareness is a migration towards naturally derived alternatives. In response, there has been an increase in cosmetic products that offer health benefits on top of traditional beauty benefits. An example is the use of seaweed as a central cosmetic ingredient. This hybrid field between pharmaceuticals and cosmetics is known as ‘cosmeceuticals’. The increasing demand for natural, plant-derived products has created an opportunity for companies to engage in natural and functional cosmetics, embracing a commitment to the protection of endangered species, use of organic ingredients, and implementation of environmentally-sound production and processing.

The new sector of ‘beauty foods’ has also emerged in recent years combining dietary supplements with cosmeceuticals.


Compared to synthetic cosmetic products, herbal products are low in toxicity, mild and biodegradable. Plant-derived ingredients are oils, fats and waxes, essential oils and oleoresins, plant extracts and colorants. Vegetable fats and oils are usually extracted from the seeds of oilseed plants. These ingredients have numerous roles in cosmetic products, such as a fragrance or colouring, moisturizers, thickening agents and stabilizers. Many plant extracts are used in cosmetics for their functional properties, such as free-radical scavenging, sun protection, whiteners and anti-microbial effects.

With proven rural food production systems and international safety standards in place, Ecopia wished to explore the potential for manufacturing herbal medicine and natural cosmetic products that have a greater profit margin than processed food products and often a longer shelf life. Manufacturing herbal medicine and natural cosmetic products would open up the exciting and viable prospect of entering the US$115 billion market through traditional and e-commerce sales. There is also great potential to develop a domestic market within Ethiopia.